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Cargill Opens Columbus, Nebraska, $111 Million Cooked Meats Plant

Cargill, a company that provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services, officially opened its $111 million cooked meats facility, 83.4 miles away from Omaha, in Columbus, Nebraska.

As a result of the conversion project, the size of Cargill's Columbus cooked meats facility was expanded nearly 50 percent, to 160,000 square feet.

According to company officials, the project to convert Cargill's fresh ground beef plant to a cooked meats operation adds capabilities the company previously did not have, provides new and existing customers with an expanded portfolio of protein offerings and nearly doubles employment at the facility.

"The newest and best equipment and technologies to produce cooked ground beef, sausage, hot dogs and other products have been incorporated into our Columbus facility, underscoring our commitment to invest in, and grow, our protein business by better meeting our customers' needs and expectations," said Brian Sikes, Corporate Vice President for Wichita-based Cargill Protein. "We take a great deal of pride in knowing this facility, located in America's heartland, will help us achieve our goal to nourish people in a safe, responsible and sustainable way."

"Taco Bell shares the same growth mindset as Cargill, and is proud to be a part of the dedication of this massive state-of-the-art project," said Brian Niccol, CEO, Taco Bell Corp. "Investment in this facility not only provides the scale needed to deliver our customers great tasting tacos and burritos, but it also is creating much needed jobs, employee training and economic benefits for the community."

In addition to the facility's new capabilities, employment will nearly double, from approximately 240 prior to the conversion to around 460. Some workers displaced when the conversion began have been rehired due to training they received in the interim, company officials said. Cargill collaborated with Central Community College and the Platte Valley Literacy Association, both in Columbus, and the Nebraska Department of Labor, in an innovative public-private partnership to craft an adult education program financed by a $465,000 state grant.

"I am thrilled to not only celebrate the completion of the tremendous investment Cargill has made in the Columbus community, but also the success of a thoughtful public-private partnership that has helped retain, develop and engage our local workforce," said Governor Pete Ricketts. "This is a great example of the opportunities we can create for Nebraskans through collaboration and creativity across multiple organizations."

The plant complements the company's other protein further processing capabilities at facilities in Nebraska City, Nebraska; Timberville, Virginia; Albert Lea, Minnesota; Waco and Fort Worth, Texas; and Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to its Columbus and Nebraska City facilities, Cargill also operates a large-scale beef harvest and processing facility at Schuyler, Nebraska.

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